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Central Bank Independence, Centralization of Wage Bargaining, Inflation and Unemployment - Theory and Evidence

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  • Cukierman, Alex
  • Lippi, Francesco

Abstract

This paper proposes a conceptual framework to investigate the effects of central bank independence, of the degree of centralization of wage bargaining and of the interaction between those institutional variables, on real wages, unemployment and inflation. The labour market is characterized by the degree of centralization of bargaining and by the degree of trade unions’ inflation aversion. The latter leads each union to moderate its wage demands in order to induce the Central Bank (CB) to inflate at a lower rate. An increase in the degree of centralization of wage bargaining (a decrease in the number of unions) triggers two opposite effects on real wages, unemployment and inflation. The decrease in the number of unions reduces the substituability between the labours of different unions and therefore the degree of effective competition between them. This ‘reduced competition effect’ raises real wages, unemployment and inflation. But the decrease in the number of unions also strengthens the moderating effect of inflationary fears on the real wage demands of each union. This ‘strategic effect’ lowers real wages, unemployment and inflation. The interaction between those two effects produces a Calmfors-Driffill type relation between real wages and centralization. The paper analyses the effects of centralization and of independence on the position and the shape of this Calmfors-Driffill relation, as well as on inflation and unemployment. Some of the resulting implications are tested empirically, using data from 19 developed economies. Implications for the optimal degree of conservativeness and for European Monetary Union (EMU) are also discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Cukierman, Alex & Lippi, Francesco, 1998. "Central Bank Independence, Centralization of Wage Bargaining, Inflation and Unemployment - Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1847, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1847
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicola Acocella & Giovanni Bartolomeo, 2004. "Is a Conservative Central Banker a (Perfect) Substitute for Wage Coordination?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 281-294, June.
    2. Acocella, Nicola & Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni, 2004. "Non-neutrality of monetary policy in policy games," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 695-707, September.
    3. Nicola Acocella & Giovanni Bartolomeo, 2013. "The Cost Of Social Pacts," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 238-255, July.
    4. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Enrico Marchetti, 2004. "Central banks and information provided to the private sector," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 57(230), pages 265-295.
    5. Floro Ernesto Caroleo, 2000. "Le politiche per l'occupazione in Europa: una tassonomia istituzionale," STUDI ECONOMICI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2000(71).
    6. Juha Kilponen & David Mayes & Jouko Vilmunen, 1999. "Labour Market Flexibility in Northern Europe," One Europe or Several? Working Papers 2, One-Europe Programme.
    7. Nicola Acocella & Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Douglas A. Hibbs, 2002. "Jr Labor market regimes and monetary policy," Working Papers 58, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
    8. Lorenzo Forni, 2004. "Centralization of wage bargaining and the unemployment rate: revisiting the hump-shape hypothesis," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 492, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Carsten Hefeker & Blandine Zimmer, 2010. "Central bank independence and conservatism under uncertainty: Substitutes or complements?," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 140-10, Universität Siegen, Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik und Wirtschaftsrecht.
    10. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Patrizio Tirelli & Nicola Acocella, 2008. "Trend inflation as a workers disciplining device in a general equilibrium model," Working Papers 142, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2008.
    11. Sanvi Avouyi-Dovi & Denis Fougère & Erwan Gautier, 2013. "Wage Rigidity, Collective Bargaining, and the Minimum Wage: Evidence from French Agreement Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1337-1351, October.
    12. Acocella, Nicola & Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni & Hibbs Jr., Douglas A., 2008. "Labor market regimes and the effects of monetary policy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 134-156, March.
    13. Steinar Holden, 2003. "Wage-setting under Different Monetary Regimes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(278), pages 251-265, May.
    14. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Patrizio Tirelli & Nicola Acocella, 2013. "Trend inflation as a workers’ discipline device," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 215-235, May.
    15. Daniels, Joseph P. & Nourzad, Farrokh & VanHoose, David D., 2006. "Openness, centralized wage bargaining, and inflation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 969-988, December.
    16. Nicola Acocella & Giovanni Di Bartolomeo, 2007. "Is Corporatism Feasible?," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 340-359, May.
    17. Calmfors, Lars, 1998. "Unemployment, Labour-Market Reform and Monetary Union," Seminar Papers 639, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    18. Cukierman, Alex & Lippi, Francesco, 1999. "Central bank independence, centralization of wage bargaining, inflation and unemployment:: Theory and some evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1395-1434, June.
    19. Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "How much should central banks talk?: A new argument," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 195-198, October.
    20. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Nicola Acocella & Wilfried Pauwels, 2004. "Is There any Scope for Corporatism in Stabilization Policies?," Working Papers 2009.154, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    21. Acocella, Nicola & Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni & Tirelli, Patrizio, 2009. "The macroeconomics of social pacts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 202-213, October.
    22. Gernot Pehnelt, 2007. "Globalisation and Inflation in OECD Countries," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-055, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    23. Siviero, S. & Terlizzese, D. & Visco, I., 1999. "Are Model-Based Inflation Forecasts Used in Monetary Policymaking? A Case Study," Papers 357, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
    24. Nicola Acocella & Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Douglas A. Jr. Hibbs, 2003. "Labor market regimes and monetary policy," Macroeconomics 0307012, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    25. Nicola Acocella & Giovanni Di Bartolomeo, 2001. "Robustness and feasibility of corporatism," Working Papers 44, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    centralization of bargaining; Credibility; industrial organization of labour markets; Inflation; monetary policy institutions; Unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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